University's ta-tawâw Student Centre - a place where everyone belongs
Posted: November 28, 2019 2:30 p.m.
Students unveil the new name of the Aboriginal Student Centre - ta-tawâw Student Centre - at the renaming ceremony on November 28. Photo: University Advancement and Communications
"Do not change anything, but carry on the spirit," was the message echoed by Elder Roy Bison during his prayer and speech to open the November 28 Aboriginal Student Centre renaming ceremony.
University of Regina students, faculty, and friends were on hand for the reveal of the new name for the Aboriginal Student Centre - ta-tawâw Student Centre. The name change had been a long time coming, and a move in the direction of continued reconciliation.
"Fourteen per cent of our student population self-declare as Indigenous - which is fantastic. We need to make sure we are serving all of our students well," said Dr. Vianne Timmons, President and Vice-Chancellor.
The term "Aboriginal" has become outdated and rejected as a catch-all term for people of First Nations, Métis, and Inuit heritage. With other organizations, including Aboriginal and Northern Affairs Canada, having consciously decided to change names, it made sense for the Centre to follow suit and a consultation process was undertaken.
In the Fall of 2019, students and members of the University community were welcomed to submit new names to better reflect the nature of the Centre.
"We asked the University community to submit names that would best describe the Aboriginal Student Centre; a name they felt would respect the beautiful diversity of our culture, knowledge, tradition, and language," said Misty Longman, Manager of the ta-tawâw Student Centre. "A name that would acknowledge the space as a place where everyone belongs."
Submissions were reviewed by a renaming committee, and two options were chosen. Self-declared Indigenous students were then invited to vote for their preferred option with ta-tawâw Student Centre emerging as the victor.
Whitney Wolfe speaking
ta-tawâw (pronounced tat-oh-wow) is a word in the Cree language meaning "Welcome. There is room. There is Space." Speaking at the event on behalf of students was Whitney Wolfe, a fourth-year psychology student and a student assistant with the ta-tawâw Student Centre. Wolfe noted the importance of the name change to reflect the inclusive nature of the Centre.
"This is a place for all. There was a misconception around the University that the Aboriginal Student Centre was only for Aboriginal students," said Wolfe. "With this name change, it signifies what this place really is - a welcoming, warm, and inclusive space for everyone."
ta-tawâw Student Centre is focused on assisting Indigenous students with: successful transition into University; retention at the post-secondary level; engagement in University events and activities; successful completion of University; and, transition into the workforce. Other opportunities are created for the greater campus with events and services focused on creating a more diverse and inclusive campus. Located in Room 108 of the Research and Innovation Centre on the main U of R campus, all are welcome to explore the centre and take advantage of its services.